The Centre had readily agreed to Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe into the 2G spectrum scam last year but on Tuesday, refused to cede its right to appoint a special public prosecutor to conduct the prosecution case against former telecom minister A Raja and other accused.
This is the first time the Centre has disagreed with a suggestion from the Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly in the case. After the Bench agreed with the suggestion of K K Venugopal , who appeared for CBI, to appoint U U Lalit as special public prosecutor, the Union government through attorney general G E Vahanvati said the choice of special PP and his appointment was the Centre’s sole discretion under Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
Vahanvati, whom the CBI in its chargesheet has cited as a witness to Raja’s alleged acts of forgery in the 2G scam, said appointment of special public prosecutor by the court would render Lalit’s position legally untenable. Keen for an unhindered and quick trial in the spectrum scam, Vahanvati said, “If the special PP is appointed by the court, then the accused will surely challenge his appointment and the trial will start on a wrong note.”
Venugopal said Lalit fulfiled the PMLA provision requiring the special PP to have worked under the Union of India or a state government for seven years as he had been a panel lawyer for Maharashtra government for 15 years. Terming Centre’s approach as “too technical”, the bench said, “Under the Union or state government would definitely not mean that the advocate should have been in their employment. The interpretation must be reasonable.” TNN